Though the Fig Tree Does Not Blossom

An Advent Devotion for December 16

Read Habakkuk 3:17-19

“Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-18

In Martha Beck’s book, “Expecting Adam” she tells about the experience of being the mother of a child with Down  Syndrome. Often there were frustrating moments when she confronted prejudices against her son, from colleagues, neighbors and even doctors.

At one point, Beck gave a talk about her experience to a class of Harvard Medical students, with her son, Adam, asleep on her lap. After the talk, she was approached by an elderly professor who had just become the grandfather of a little girl with Down’s. She says of that, “As he talked to me, he stroked Adam’s soft blond hair and wept. He loved his granddaughter with inexplicable openness, and the experience had changed his whole life . . . Whoever said that love is blind was dead wrong. Love is the only thing on this earth that lets us see each other with the remotest accuracy.”

God has never promised us that bad stuff won’t happen or that our lives will be easy. God has never promised that everything will work out the way we want it to, or that our favorite football team will ever win the Super Bowl. Habakkuk’s hope is based on more than a bountiful harvest. His hope is in the God who brought his people out of Egypt and through the wilderness.

The promise of Advent is that Christ came for all time. What God has promised throughout the scriptures is, “I will be with you.” “I will be with you in the distress of disease, illness, accidents, war, poverty, heartbreaking loss.” There will be painful, harsh and bitter times in our lives. God’s promise is, “I will be with you.” There is nothing in life or in death that we face alone.

Prayer: God of Advent Hope, Some days, we just hang on by a thread. We wonder where you are or if you’ve just run off somewhere. On days, when we do not sense your presence and we doubt you altogether . . . send your messengers into our lives, to remind us of who you are and who we are. Remind us that we are your children, beloved and cherished by you. Amen.

Additional Advent & Christmastide Devotions can be found by clicking here:   Advent & Christmastide Devotions

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